Universal York

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Love of Oysters and Ice Cream Nothing New in York

John Hetrick’s Strawberry Surprise
Ice cream and oysters have each enjoyed a long popularity in York County eateries. A recent post quoted an 1845 ad announcing the grand opening of Gray’s ice cream parlor, and ads for oysters abound. Click here for the ice cream post.
York folk artist Lewis Miller illustrated nineteenth century York County in detail. His drawing above catches a local citizen about to make a culinary mistake at Gray’s restaurant. Miller accompanies the illustration with the following explanation:

“John W. Hetrick in Ham Grays Restaurant, or oyster seller. He saw some men eating strawberrys–cream–white sugar on. He called for some and before him was some salt in a cup. Hetrick thought it is standing there to put upon the strawberrys. He then took two large spoonfull of salt and covert the berrys all over. It was eating strawberrys and salt. June 26, 1846.”
I’ve been helping out at the York County Heritage Trust’s Oyster Fest, held the third Sunday of October, ever since I joined the staff of the then Historical Society of York County eighteen years ago. Everyone who attends can vouch for the continuing lure of the lowly oyster.
As for ice cream–we have plenty of that cold, creamy concoction available year round too. Some of the newer chains make pretty good stuff, but as far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat Mack’s, the ice cream I grew up on. Mmmmmmmm.
Click here to read about a later oyster seller.